When it comes to understanding a complicated situation, I often use Jerry McGuire’s advice to “Follow the Money.” When it comes to the war in Gaza, this works as well as anywhere. Consider the following facts about the cost of war.
The Hamas terrorists have a huge arsenal of rockets, which they have been firing at Israeli civilians both before and after Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005. These are mostly Badr-3, Fajr-3, and Fajr-4 rockets.
Although I haven’t been able to find a complete tally of rockets fired by Hamas since 2005, consider these recent numbers:
- In 2001, Hamas fired more than 4,360 unguided rockets and mortars into Israel, killing 13 civilians.
- Since then, Palestinian militants have launched “tens of thousands” of rocket and mortar attacks into Israel.
- On October 7, Hamas fired between 2,200 and 3,000 rockets into Israel in 20 minutes, overwhelming the Iron Dome defense system.
- Subsequently, Hamas has fired over 7,400 rockets into Israel—while the world has demanded a cease-fire only from Israel.
Online research will tell you pretty much everything about these rockets except what they cost. They come into Gaza from other terrorist actors like Iran and the Lebanese militias. Whether Hamas purchases them or they are just a gift from militant Islamic terrorists, they represent a huge cost to someone.
Hamas has built hundreds of miles of tunnels underneath Gaza and extended them across the border into Israel. Nicknamed the Gaza Metro, these are not primitive dirt tunnels like 19th-century mining shafts. News videos of them show us spaces 6 feet, 5 inches tall—large enough for a man to stand up in. They have cement walls, electrical and communication cables, ventilation equipment, sanitary facilities and technological improvements.
Experts estimate that Hamas terrorists have dug over 300 miles of tunnels under Gaza’s buildings which they use to smuggle weapons and other supplies as well as to infiltrate Israel.
According to CNN, Israel spent billions of dollars attempting to secure the border with a smart system that boasts advanced sensors and subterranean walls, yet Hamas was still able to launch its October 7 assault by land, air and sea.
The Gaza Metro
According to The Wall Street Journal;
“The underground network was painstakingly built by throngs of Palestinian workers, who used sophisticated machinery and thousands of tons of cement in a massive multiyear underground construction project into Israeli territory. Their construction was part of Hamas’s efforts to create a more capable fighting force.”
And how much did all this cost? According to the Washington Post: A decade ago, Israeli authorities discovered a tunnel from Gaza into Israel 1.5 miles long and 66 feet underground. They estimated that it had cost some $10 million and required 800 tons of concrete. At just under $10 million a mile and 311 miles of tunnels the Gaza Metro displays an investment of over $32 billion.
Every day from 2005 to October 7 of this year, long lines of trucks passed through the Rafah Gate between Egypt and Gaza. They carried humanitarian aid of food, water, fuel, and medicine. The UN estimates that 455 aid trucks normally roll into Gaza every day.
The international community has sent billions of dollars in aid to the relatively small Gaza. (population 3 million) Los Angeles (population 12.5 million) is 3.62 times as big as Gaza and Chicago (population 2.75 million) is 78 times as big as Gaza.
Shortly after Hamas’s massacre in Israel, I watched TV news footage of the trucks lined up at the Rafah Gate but unable to cross because the gate was closed. I noticed one flat-bed truck on which were strapped two Bobcats—the construction equipment, not the animals. I wondered exactly how they could be called humanitarian aid.
Helping Hamas Two Ways
Because here’s the thing: all that aid works to the benefit of the Hamas-run government in two ways.
- While foreign countries pay for schools, hospitals, infrastructure, and nutrition, Hamas conserves its own resources, including the revenue from taxes and customs. Those resources get spent on rockets, weapons, attack drones, vehicles, and the infrastructure for the tunnel network.
- Some of the humanitarian aid goes to feed Hamas terrorists. Other materials, like concrete, are used to build and equip the tunnels.
That’s why Israel monitors what goes into Hamas so carefully. But once the trucks are in Gaza, the IDF has no ability to tell what goes where or to whose benefit. Was that concrete used to build homes or the Gaza Metro?
A government’s first duty is to protect and care for its population. Hamas, which pretends to be a government, does neither. It leaves that to the rest of the world while they prosecute their ongoing, decades-long war against Israel.
The Total Cost of War
How much does all this add up to? Unfortunately, I can’t say. I don’t have a staff. I don’t have contacts at the White House, the Department of Defense, or the CIA. Lacking a revenue source for The Next Phase Blog, I also don’t have access to paid subscriptions and databases.
I would leave calculating the cost of war to the major news media, but they seem uninterested in calculating how much money Hamas has received, where it came from, and what they have done with it. When it comes to following the money, they are no help at all.
Human Rights Watch calls the firing of rockets at Israeli civilians a war crime but that doesn’t stop it from happening or punishing those who do it. The rockets often fall short and land in Gaza, killing its civilians.
And on it goes. Following the money, getting even a rough tally of the stupendous amounts that have gone into the war being waged by Palestinian terrorists, tells you that someone is getting rich. It comes as no surprise that the leaders of Hamas live a luxurious life in Qatar, a country that pretends to be a neutral mediator.
Hamas’s three top leaders alone are worth $11 billion, driving luxury cars, relaxing in beachside villas, and waging war from elegant offices. Clearly, they find this war very profitable. The only question is who’s paying the bill.